Hammer for Mac has been updated, bringing support for templates, among other improvements.
Andy Clarke recently spoke to .net about his new toolkit and how Hammer had revolutionised how his company designed websites: “Hammer does really nice things that speed up workflow when writing static HTML and CSS. It has variables and clever paths in it, so you don’t have to specify the full path to assets and can easily move things around.”
In encouraging his company’s new designer to move from Photoshop to creating using “stuff of the web”, he created Rock Hammer to make the process easier.
With many in the industry similarly keen to discover new ways of working on frontend design, .net took the opportunity to talk to Hammer creator Elliott Kember (EK) about website creation processes and how Hammer can benefit designers.
.net: For the uninitiated, what is Hammer? Why should a designer or developer consider using it?
EK: Hammer is a Mac app for building static websites. You write normal HTML, with comments for includes and tags where you need them, and Hammer compiles your files into a folder called Build, ready for viewing or publishing.
The best part is Hammer lets you use HTML as partials, which means you can re-use parts of your site. If your pages all share a header, you can write <!-- @include _header --> . No more repeating yourself!
.net: How does it compare to tools developers will already be used to working with?
EK: The main problem I've found is that each separate tool only comes as a library. CoffeeScript, SASS, Markdown: you have to use the Terminal to install and to use them, which is gross.
There are some apps that combine them, but never in a really nice, integrated way. I just wanted something really simple, elegant and easy to use, because everything else feels a little too complicated; it's easy to get yourself into a mess.
Hammer is a bit unique in that it's all integrated. Instead of bringing several separate tools together, we've tried to make something more connected. There are also no options, and nothing to configure. It's dead simple.
.net: How do you see Hammer integrating into an existing workflow and changing it for the better?
EK: Hammer just saves you time. Instead of copy/pasting the same code into all your HTML files, you can put them in partials. You don't need to install PHP, or Rails, or anything you have to maintain. Hammer takes care of it. You don't have to write complicated '../../' paths — Hammer takes care of that, too. All the things I always hated about writing HTML, Hammer takes care of for me. That's why I made it.
This also means you can jump straight in. There's really no learning curve, no complicated syntax to learn and no messing about getting Hammer set up. It's super easy to figure out, and with the re-usable templates in the latest version, you can get a head start on new projects, and work with existing templates like Andy Clarke’s.